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SoCar under fire over lack of cooperation in sexual assault case

(123rf)
(123rf)
South Korean car-sharing app operator SoCar is facing a public outcry over a sexual assault case involving one of its users.

A local news report suggests that the company slowed down the police investigation when it failed to promptly turn over the suspect’s information.

The accused man, who is in his 30s, reportedly rented a car from SoCar on Saturday and allegedly used it to pick up the teenage girl who later accused him of sexual assault. The two had met in an online chat room, the report stated, and the alleged crime occurred Saturday at his residence a few hundred kilometers away from the meeting place.

The police contacted SoCar to check the suspect’s GPS information and other details, but SoCar reportedly refused to cooperate without a search warrant. The search warrant was issued a day later, but due to the absence of the employee in charge, it took an additional day to obtain the information.

SoCar’s CEO Park Jae-wook apologized on Wednesday for failing to immediately cooperate with the police investigation.

Park said the company “failed to cooperate with the investigation quickly due to personal information protection manuals.” The company will immediately consult with experts and change the response manual so that it can cooperate efficiently with the authorities in future cases, the CEO added.

Some online users said they would boycott the company, while others demanded a more meaningful apology to the teenage victim and her family.

SoCar, launched in 2011, has more than 6 million members, 300,000 of whom belong to a monthly subscription program called SoCar Pass. The company attracted 60 billion won ($54.11 million) worth of funding from investors, achieving unicorn status in the mobility market.

By Kim Hae-yeon (hykim@heraldcorp.com)
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